Theo 20425 Blog Post 1
When I was a child, I contemplated my barber’s potential as my parish priest. He would bring better music. He would be funnier. His suckers would probably taste better than the bread the adults had. But most of all, he would be so much faster. I considered these to be prodigious insights, and as a result, I grew indignant towards mass until years later when I was able to receive First Holy Communion. Though only equipped with an elementary understanding of the sacrament, receiving Holy Communion enabled me to become more engaged in the liturgy, thus making me more interested in my faith.
Throughout middle school and high school, I was drawn closer to Christ through community. Though not completely black and white, there were three “categories” of peers who drew me closer to God. Some kids intimidated me and thus deterred me from their lifestyles. They were physically stronger, articulate in profanity, well-versed on the human anatomy, and seasoned rebel-rousers. My discomfort around them underscored my desire for authentic truth, beauty, and goodness. Concurrently, for the first time in my life, I met people outside of my family who did exude such qualities. They were authentically joyful and charismatic not in spite of their Catholic faith but in fact because of their Catholic faith. We bonded over youth group, athletics, and even daily mass. This sense of holy camaraderie enthused me about my faith, albeit, perhaps merely for the pleasure of friendship. The third category of peers — those who were kind but held anti-Catholic worldviews — made me want to why I believed what I did. They sent me on an intellectual journey, and through that experience, I grew in my appreciation for and relationship with Christ. My faith no longer became something I did as a means of merely having friends. Rather, it became an integral part of my personal identity.
Such encounters emboldened me to develop my faith throughout college. Catholicism has become an integral component of my lifestyle as I love engaging in mass, adoration, and the rosary. Recognizing that my peers have been so formative in my own faith journey, I orchestrated a men’s Catholic book club with my friends this past summer, allowing my friends and me a direct mode of discipleship.
Though it has personal nuances, my theological biography generally has unfolded in a rather organic, undramatic fashion: I grew to appreciate my faith as I witnessed both those who lived virtuously and those who did not. St. Paul identifies a similar pattern as he states: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me” (1 Chron. 13:11, NIV). I know that I still have much to appreciate about my faith, but unlike the indignant child, the overwhelmed middle schooler, or the uncertain high school student, I am excited to do so.